Cote d’Ivoire will return to the African Nations Championship tournament in Algeria next month after failing to qualify for the previous edition with intense hopes of winning the title for the first time.
The home-based Elephants will be making their fifth appearance in the competition after the victory over tough opponents Burkina Faso gave them the hope that they will improve on their third-place best finish in 2016.
The Ivorians were exempted from the preliminary round of the qualifiers of the 2022 African Nations Championship and joined in the second round where they took on Burkina Faso.
The first-leg and second-leg matches of the tie ended goalless before the post-match penalty shootouts determined the team to grab the ticket for the tournament.
The Ivorians secured their ticket for the tournament in Algeria after winning 5-3 on penalties.
They have been placed in a tough Group B to face former title winners DR Congo, Senegal and Uganda.
*Coach – Soualiho Haidara
Haidara was hired to take over the Local Elephants in July 2022 after missing out on the senior national team job which he had applied for when it became vacant.
He was in charge of the Cote d’Ivoire U23 side that reached the quarter-finals of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Before that, he had guided Cote d’Ivoire to a runners-up finish in the U23 Africa Cup of Nations, losing to hosts Egypt in the final.
*Players to watch
Zozoua is a central midfielder who is a player in the Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas and has been in superb form in the 2022-23 campaign.
He has scored 6 goals in the Ivorian Ligue 1 and has 3 goals in 6 games in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup also.
The 25-year-old played in Czech Republic and Latvia before returning home to join Africa Sports and then later to ASEC.
*Aubin Kramo Kouamé
The 26-year-old midfielder is currently playing for Ivorian champions ASEC Mimosas and has vast continental experience having previously played for FC San Pedro and Africa Sports.
He is in impressive form this season with 3 goals in 6 matches in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup.
*Ouattara Dognimin Romaric
The striker who plays for Stade d’Abidjan in the Ivorian Ligue 1 is expected to lead the Cote d’Ivoire attack at the CHAN following his superlative form this season.
He has scored 6 goals so far in the Ivorian League.
Romaric played a significant role in Cote d’Ivoire’s qualification for the tournament.
January 14, 2023: Cote d’Ivoire vs. Senegal
January 18, 2023: DR Congo vs. Cote d’Ivoire
January 22, 2023: Uganda vs. Cote d’Ivoire
*History in CHAN
Ivory Coast will be making their fifth appearance in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament in Algeria
The West Africans were the hosts of the maiden edition of the tournament in 2009 but failed to go beyond the group stage.
They suffered a similar fate two years later as they exited the competition at the group stage despite playing some entertaining football in their matches.
Their best performance in the history of the CHAN tournament was in 2016 where they finished third in Rwanda before their last participation in the 2018 edition.
*Source: CAF Media Department